PÁIRC Uí Chaoimh was not the place to be on Saturday night if you were of a nervous disposition.
The clash of Courcey Rovers and Ballyhea was always going to be a close and tension-filled affair and it lived up to its billing.
In the first-half Courceys were the better side and it was no surprise to see them leading at half-time by 0-11 to 0-7.
As happy as they would have been to be ahead at half-time Courceys knew what was coming in the second half. Ballyhea weren’t going to go away easily and the expected fightback happened which saw the sides level on five occasions and it looked like it was going to take extra time to separate them.
In the dying minutes, Nyhan had equalised for Courceys from a long distance free he had won himself and that looked like it, but there was one last twist. Richard Sweetnam stepped up and did what he had been doing all game – scoring with deadly accuracy from placed balls to see his side advance to a semi-final meeting with Fermoy by 0-17 to 0-16.
One of the men responsible for Courceys march towards the title is coach Sean Guiheen, who was delighted to be in the semi-final but also said they have a bit of work to do ahead of their clash with Fermoy.
“I thought in the last five minutes that my heart was coming out of my chest, fair play to Stephen Nyhan and Richard Sweetnam they showed fierce experience and bottle with the two scores they go. Sweetnam’s score was excellent because he was out near the sideline and a difficult angle. So to nail it I give him great credit.
“Ballyhea have massive tradition and heart and play with pride in the jersey. We knew it was going to be a dogfight, very physical and we would have to go all the way to have a chance of winning.
“At half-time, I was happy enough we were up and might have been more ahead but for some reason, we were flat in the second half.
“We are delighted to be in the semi-final and the momentum from last year helped us, but we have a pile to work on ahead of the Fermoy game. We will have a look at this game, have a chat with the players and regroup because if we play like that second half there is no point in turning up to be honest.
“That said the lads are very passionate, a close unit, very together, and are super young fellas. It’s huge for the club and the players to be in the semi-final and we will look forward to it."